The last of my Christmas parcels was delivered to Mykolaiv this week. Two weeks ago, the parcel sent to Kyiv was delivered. That was a joy; however, I understand the difference between delivering to Kyiv and Mykolaiv. I sent both parcels in defiance of the cruelties of war, hoping they would make it in against all odds. It was a completely childish idea, like, “I can’t stop the war, but it’s still in my power to do something good, and nobody can stop me.”
My dear S., as you know, I am keeping close to my heart your words – “it will happen, just not as soon as both you and me would want it to happen.”
The change was dramatic and sudden. My plans A, B, and C for Thursday afternoon dissolved on the spot. I think that most places closed preemptively, just in case, because, in the end, the snow on Thursday was not terrible. The windchill, though, was probably the worst I had ever experienced during my life in Chicago.
I got on the train earlier than planned. and then I didn’t leave the house for a day and a half, except to take the garbage out and boxes to the storage. On Friday, I thought that everybody’s plans were canceled, and since I know some neighbors very well, they might be up to the impromptu party – and we had it, and we had fun!
It turned out that adults like the idea of chocolate ornaments not less than children, and after I explained how to look for the chocolate ornaments, they asked how many they could take 🙂
For the first three weeks of December, my life was so full of different activities that I rarely came home before nine. I told mom that I would take her out to do Christmas things during Christmas week.
Since she no longer takes public transit alone, I could only take her out when I work from home and can pick her up. It all worked great on Wednesday, and I took her to the Chrstkindle Market and the Chicago Christmas tree. The weather was ideal – it was around 30F, and no wind or snow, and we spent more than two hours outside. I was really glad that mom didn’t complain about “how everything is so expensive” and seemed to accept that the holidays allow spending more on fun things. She liked the food and enjoyed looking at the Christmas ornament without looking at the price. She thanked me for the good time and told me that she felt the Christmas spirit and the holiday atmosphere. Which is more than I could expect, so I am marking it as a success.
(I was hoping for fewer crowds, but by that time, everybody knew that the snowstorm is coming and that Wednesday would be effectively the last day of the market)
We are officially in the holiday season. I am trying to book/purchase/reserve as much as possible in advance and see as many people as possible, especially those I haven’t seen for a long time.
In addition, somehow, several doctor’s appointments, both mine and mom’s, ended up in December, so I need to schedule this as well, and pretty much each and every single day in late November – December is already planned. I do not have Christmas presents for anybody, but I hope to work something out!
So far, here is what we have. Boris flew in on Sunday, and surprisingly, the same BA flight, which was so late for me, landed on time, and Boris even managed to get a cab, which is always a struggle for him:). (I didn’t want to go to the airport because the arrival was late, and I didn’t want to sit in the airport for potentially three hours).
Anna and her family are coming tomorrow. I ordered a turkey from the CSA, and this bird is nothing like anything I had before. I have lots of vegetables from both of my CSAs, and I ordered pies from Vanille. And we have plans with Boris for all the rest of the days until he leaves Sunday night.
After November 27, I have something going on every day. The highlights are my cookie-baking days, which will be December 3,4, 10, and 11. On the 10th, we have a corporate party, so it will be only a half-day cookies. I ordered a Christmas tree with delivery and installation from Gethsemani for December 9th. First time in my life, I ordered both delivery and installation, but if I want a tree as big as I had last year (and I want it!) I’d better not try bringing it up myself.
And now I am taking a deep breath and getting ready for the cooking marathon!
The holiday season is approaching again, and it’s time for holiday cards and cookies. You know how it works, right? If you would like to receive a holiday card from me – let me know :). If you are anywhere in the US and would like to receive a time of Christmas cookies from me – let me know! If you are anywhere else in the world except for Russia – hurry up – I will send the cookies to the first twelve people who will respond!
And if you are in Chicagoland, maybe you would like to stop by and decorate some cookies with me? Let me know!
Last weekend, when Lena visited me, we went to the Christkindle Market. Lena didn’t have an opportunity to visit it for many years! It turned out that she didn’t even know that Chicago’s official Christmas tree was moved to Millennium Park!
By then, I visited the marked four of five times, and there was no problem getting in, but there was a huge line to enter that time! The line circled Daley Center twice, and although it was moving pretty fast, it took us 35 minutes to get inside.
Inside, the market was packed! However, it turned out that people didn’t really look around – there were food stands with no lines at all, so we were able to get our drinks (I brought the mug which I got during one of my previous visits, and Lena got a new one), and then food – this time, I chose a “kilometer” sausage.
Life was so compressed in the past several days that I completely disappeared from social media except for sporadic Instagram posts.
On Thursday, my amazing neighbors who helped me with the garden texted me that they could take me to get a Christmas tree, and I said – yes, I am coming! It was awesome because otherwise, I would have to ask Lena on Saturday, and that would take more time from our cookie-making.
Due to all the circumstances: the supply chain crisis of this year, the fact that I am in the city, and the fact that I needed a bigger tree this year, it ended up being the most expensive tree I ever had, but it was so worth it!
My neighbors helped me lift it to my apartment, and Boris and I set it up in the tree stand. That was the moment I had dreamed about since I first saw this apartment at the end of March! Still, I didn’t have time to decorate until Lena’s arrival, and I didn’t write all the cards I planned to write by that time. So I still had a challenging weekend ahead.
This year, I am starting my Christmas campaign earlier, because the shipping speed is going to be unpredictable.
Like every year, like every Christmas – let me know if you want a Christmas card from me and/or Christmas cookies! If you are in Chicago – please come and help me to bake, and most importantly – decorate! Everything will start soon!!!
Because of predictable slowness of the mail around Christmas and New Year, I received a lot of presents in the days after Christmas. Which made it even more fun – I feel like I have a month worth of Christmas!
My older granddaughter Nadia made these ornaments with her palm print all by herself 🙂
The packager from New Zealand arrived as well. Each Christmas, I feel like this is the coolest thing to receive cookies from the opposite side of the globe! And it’s not just cookies, each year there is something else special!